Within the last few years, both of our families have transitioned from one church to another. For me (Drew), my transition was due to stepping down/resigning from my position as their Lead Pastor. When we transitioned out of our Pastoral role, we landed at another church immediately for close to a year. Looking back, the Lord clearly had other church plans for us, and as we tried to get involved, the doors kept on closing for us. That was our sign to find another church home. It took just two years, if I remember right, until we landed where we are right now. My wife and I are actively involved, I lead a growing small group that meets in our home (when I am not on the road with the Life Institute), and I am their first Deacon of Finance, where I am working with the Pastors and others on the finance team to use what the Lord is providing for the church ministry needs and community outreach needs where we are making a major impact for the Lord.
I give that back story because my wife and I are “tithers.” Since before we were married, we committed to giving at least (and it is now more) 10% of our earned income, right off the top, to the Lord. Specifically, we give to His local church. During those two years without a church home, we were in a dilemma! What church do we give to? Should we give to a church knowing that we do not have a church home? What about other non-profit organizations doing the Lord’s work? These are the questions we pondered, so we wanted to provide some insight to these questions in this episode of Stewardology.
There are several ways you can tithe while between churches.
- Give to your previous church until you find a new one
- Give to a church that you know needs your support, even if it is temporary.
- Give to a church that is making a kingdom impact.
- Give to a church plant until you find your new church home.
- Give to the churches that you are visiting.
- Give your tithe to multiple churches (not just one).
- Save up your tithe and once you find a new church home, give it all to them.
- Save up your tithe in an online bank account so you keep it separate from your daily operating expenses
- Invest your tithe in a mutual fund and if your new church has a brokerage account, then transfer it all to the church. If they do not have a brokerage account, talk to them about getting one set up.
Can I give my tithe to a para-church ministry?
- Before I answer this question, I need to give my position on tithing, which is based on what I see in Scripture.
- Personally, I am a “storehouse” tither/giver. What do I mean by this? Let me read to you Malachi 3:8-10:
- “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ “In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. (Malachi 3:8–10, NIV84)
- We are called to give our TITHE to the Storehouse, or what I would believe is the modern day church.
- The Storehouse was where the people of the day brought a tithe of their first-fruits for portioning out among the priests, the temple workers, and those in need. A parallel for today is the local church. This is where the individual that is tithing is built up and encouraged in the Word and ways of the Lord! Now, there are men and women that are far more learned than me that believe that the “storehouse” is NOT the church today. There are also scholars out there today that totally agree with me that the local church is a parallel to the temple storehouse of Malachi. There are well-educated people on both sides of this coin, so you just need to decide where you land on this one. But for me, I land on the side that the Temple Storehouse is a parallel to the local church today.
- Back to the question: Can I give my tithe to a parachurch ministry?
- First and foremost I believe that we need to give of our firstfruits unto the Lord, specifically to the Lord’s house, the church. Our priority of tithing ought to go to the place where we are being built up, encouraged, strengthened, and challenged in the Word! If we would like to give to other places outside of your local church, that is fine, but that ought to be outside of your tithe (the “offerings” in Mal. 3)
Can I split my tithe to a church and another parachurch ministry?
- You surely can split your tithe between a church and a parachurch ministry. But know that as soon as you do that, you are not really tithing. In doing this, you are giving some money to your church and some to that ministry. We recommend that you give your whole tithe to your local church. Then as your giving moves above and beyond the tithe, give to that ministry.
Can I give my tithe to some missionaries?
- My answer to this is a conditional…ABSOLUTELY YES! So what is “the condition?” I would say that the condition is whether or not the missionary is focused on church planting. If they are actively planting a church, then give, give, give of your tithe! If they are not involved in church planting, make your gift to that missionary above what you give to your [future] local church.
Biblical Principles of Tithing While Between Churches
Here are few verses that can guide our tithing between churches:
- “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” – 2 Corinthians 9:7
- The heart behind giving is explained in 2 Corinthians. We are not to give out of compulsion, but we are to give with great cheerfulness in our hearts. Why is that? It is because we are simply giving back to God a percent of what He has graciously given to us.
- Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. – Galatians 6:6
- Here in Galatians 6:6 we see Paul telling those in the church that they ought to share with the ones who teach us! Although we are not directly commanded to give money to our pastor in this verse, we can see that Paul strongly suggests that we are to be sharing of our resources specifically with the ones that are building us up and shepherding us. This is even more of a reason to give of your tithe to either a church that you are visiting, your former church, or save it up for your new church home!
- Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce – Proverbs 3:9
- We tithe to be obedient to God and His Word and to honor God with our life. Our tithing first and foremost should be the “first fruits” of our earnings that we have received. We can extend our generosity of tithing not only to our earnings, but to all blessings that come our way. In this, we are expressing to God that we are fully trusting Him not just for our regular paycheck, but for those ongoing blessings that we want to honor Him back with.
- No where in Scripture do I see when someone is not regularly attending church, or are between churches that they get a “pass” on their giving unto the Lord of their firstfruits. Remember, when you tithe, you are GIVING UNTO THE LORD! You are not just giving to a church. It is trusting the Lord that you can live better on 90% of what He provides than 100% of your earnings! If you are between churches, consider doing one of the suggested “tithing strategies” that we laid out in this episode. There is something that happens within when you are obedient to the Word of God and you are trusting Him for His daily provision in your tithe and offerings above and beyond the tithe. Be faithful, be trusting, and be obedient to His Word!
- Remember, in Malachi that the Lord says “TEST ME.” The question is, will you not only TEST HIM, but more importantly TRUST HIM? If we faithfully give of our tithe unto the Lord, know that He will, according to Malachi that He will “throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”
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